Category Archives: yoga and fitness

Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of a Couch to 5k (part 3—Demons and Angels)

Need to catch up on my Couch to 5k journey?
Check out PART 1: Easy Street and PART 2: Bumps in the Road.


W?D?   Maybe W5 D-infinity? I DON’T KNOW  F 9/12/14

What. The. Heck.

I’m restraining my language because I’m actually writing this two days later so I’ve had time to temper my utter pissed-offedness. (Yes, I’m making that a word.)

I’ve been hunting for new shoes, since my old ones look like this.

old sneakers

Yes, those are massive holes in the mesh toes. Tread is pretty much non-existent as well.

Since I am poor and doubt my ability to follow through, I’m not allowing myself to head off to Track Shack for a $100+ pair of running shoes. But lucky me, I found these neat-o trainers at Ross for $30. A steal for  Brooks minimalist trainers with glowing reviews on Amazon, right?

brooks running shoes, minimalist, couch to 5k

But while reading the reviews, I realized I AM RUNNING ALL WRONG. Totally wrong. I suck.

I run like I walk, landing on my heel. I didn’t realize I was supposed to land mid-foot. WTF.

I’ve always thought my hubby runs funny. When he races around the soccer pitch every week, he looks like he’s running on his balls the balls of his feet and his heels nearly kick his butt. It looks…weird. BUT HE IS TOTALLY RIGHT. Crapola.

So, after watching a ton of youtube instructional videos, I headed off to the gym with my new shoes. I figured I’d just go easy, running/walking at my own pace as I tried to run correctly.

Ha. I looked like a drunk toddler on skates. Even holding on to the sides or front handles of the treadmill I was all spaghetti legs. It hurt. It felt wrong. I couldn’t breathe after 30 seconds. Did I mention it hurt?  (My lower shins are still KILLING me two days later.) I barely made it 2 miles with a few 90-sec runs in there.

And now I don’t know what to do. Trying to run in “proper form” (mid-foot strike, heel-to-butt gait) feels utterly wrong.

Should I start over on Day 1 with the ‘correct’ form, even though I feel like I’m on artificial legs? (Bad old-timey wooden fake legs, not those cool new blade runner versions.) Or should I keep running like I have been these last few weeks and continue to work on my cardio and stamina?



 Monday 9/15/14

It’s currently 80 degrees with 90% humidity out and I just attempted a run/walk. Outside.

sept 15 temp

Did I travel to the backwaters of Indonesia or the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil? No, I’m just another idiot savoring fall in Florida. For those of you up north, you may wonder what 90% humidity feels like. A blanket of water. Being locked in a bathroom with a bag of freshly mown grass and the shower cranked to near boiling for a half hour. I was sweating worse than a 300-pound man in a sauna. And that was just after WALKING to the end of the block.

After the last debacle at the gym (which I am still smarting from) I decided to try running on pavement instead of a hamster wheel. I could control my pace and my form more. And I did. I also dropped back to the 90-sec runs. My shins still hurt from Friday and my right arch is complaining like a bitch, but I pushed through—moderately. You see, I think lungs don’t quite know how to process this much humidity. Many people only feel it when they are (a) sitting still  in a steam room, or (b) laying in bed, miserably congested, with their room-sized humidifier spewing an eau de Vicks Vapor Rub into the air.

Who suffers this way for fun?

Just call me the Anastasia Steele of Couch to 5k. However, my unbelievable naivete revolves around running, and there were no sexy young billionaires luring me along. Too bad.

Ran/walked/gasped for about 40 minutes. Per Map My Run  – 2.81 miles.


Wednesday 9/18/14


{cue dawn breaking or something}

After my last few attempts, I was not looking forward to today’s run. I felt crummy and only pried myself out of bed because my cats were playing tag on top of me. With claws. Anywho, I ate breakfast late, so I couldn’t run/walk outside before it became too beastly. Almost didn’t go at all.

Then I remembered my gym has an “easy” yoga class at noon, and my muscles were pretty desperate for some stretching. By the time I dragged myself to the gym, I had about 20 minutes to spend with my dear nemesis, the treadmill.

What would happen if I just ran slower?

tina fey high fiving a million angels



I warmed up for a couple of minutes. (Really I was just getting my Kindle turned on—finally reading OUTLANDER. OMG. What the hell took me so long?) Then I set the speed—not at a “run” 6 mph or at a “jog” of 4 measly mph—but right in-between.

And I ran/jogged/whatevered for A MILE. Without stopping. Or dying. Holy Schlitz.

It was a 12-minute mile, but who cares? I could have kept going longer, but I really wanted to get in some yoga, and you can’t sneak into class late. I wasn’t striking totally on my heels, but somewhere a little farther forward.  I’m not sure it was precisely midstep, but who cares.

It felt brilliant.

I can do this.


Any of you runners have any advice for me? Is it better to run slowly to build endurance then worry about speeding up later?

Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of a Couch to 5k (part 2—Bumps in the Road)


Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of  a Couch to 5k (part 2: Speed Bumps)

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

{Catch up on my journey with Part 1: Easy Street here.}

W4 D1: Friday 8/22

This training session about killed me. This one was NOT fun. Those little three minute runs had me feeling like this whole couch-to-5k thing would be a piece of cake. Then the damn app demanded that I jump from 3 minute runs to 5 minute runs. Be still my beating heart. My face feels like it’s a tomato about to burst and my heart is going to explode. I tried not to envision what would happen when I passed out on the treadmill—how I’d likely nail my head on the side rail, hit the belt, and be flung to the floor like roadkill. To keep from hyperventilating, I took my dad’s advice: sing. So I looked like a tomato-faced idiot, singing and trying not to swear as I ran.

5 min warmup | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 minutes | walk 2.5  min | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 min | 5 min cool down


W4 D2 8/25

Damn five minute sprints. The app calls them “jogs” but I’m not sure what the difference is between a jog, a run, and that heaving “I’m going to die feeling.” Need to find some more music, something I can sing along with. Yes, I know I’ll look like a fool, but it will be far less embarrassing than than scoring a concussion after passing out on the rotating belt of evil. But I did it…and since I was at about 2.5 miles once the app finished, I did two more “jogs” to push me over my 5k. Take that.

5 min warmup | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 minutes | walk 2.5  min | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 min | 5 min cool down (+2 more song-length sprints)


W5 D1  Monday, 9/8

You might have noticed I’ve had a bit of a time lapse…yeah, that’s what I’ll call it. The five minute sprints are killing me, so last week I did my own thing and worked on them some more. Uhm—extra-credit time instead of remedial class, right?  I’d peeked at Week 5’s expectations of three 5-minuts sprints and got scared. But I did it today. I did it wearing my Hot Pants, even, so I’m extra gross and sweaty. (Hot Pants are these neoprene biker shorts I was once sent as a product for review. See enlightening post here.) Don’t know if they’ll help sweat away the annoying ripples around my waistline, but worth a try.

The music selection on my phone needs updating and the app I’m using for training is a royal PITA, so I listened to Pandora on my Kindle while I read JoJo Moyes’s ONE PLUS ONE (recommended++). First station up: Alternative Endurance Training. Worked for a while, then I got over Muse and switched to 80s Cardio. Pour Some Sugar on Me had me giggling and flashing back to doing the Barefoot Mailman Scout Hike when I was about 13. Don’t laugh. That was brutal  35-mile 2-day hike along the beaches of South Florida. We carried everything we needed—tents, clothes, food, ect. It was hot. It was long. I had blisters and chafe marks for days. But I did it—I kicked butt in an event dominated 95% by boys. And one of the songs that I blasted through my Walkman (**oooh, flashback***) was that Def Leopard glam rock classic. Granted, at 13, I had no idea what it really meant.

If I could do it then, dammit, I can do it now.

5 min warmup | 5 min run + 3 min fast walk X 3 | added another 2 3-min runs to make 5k




Yoga ain’t for sissies

I gave Hubby a copy of the intense P90X DVD workout program for Christmas.

Now, I know giving a exercise videos or a  gym  membership could be construed as a rather rash gift.  Certain women, if they received such a not-so-subtle hint, might turn like a rabid pit bull on their partner until placated with jewelry or tremendous ass-kissing (pun intended). But my Hubby had been strongly hinting about how he wanted to work out more, so I thought I’d help him out.

Needless to say, the DVDs have not left their box. Until today.***

He decided we should do the 90 minute yoga program. Together.

Though I am most certainly not a pro, I’ve been practicing yoga once or twice a week for about a year.  I was hooked from my first class with my current yoga instructor. She replaced a teacher who was more suited for barking boot camp orders than balancing chakras. That fearsome woman nearly drove me to tears when I couldn’t get up to a full headstand my first class. (I still can’t, and have no desire to try.)

But I could have a total girl crush on this new instructor, if I was the type to do such things. Her voice soothes  like the waters of a steamy hot spring, her words encourage to stretch and soar, her hands melt skin when she gently moves a shoulder or hip for an adjustment.  She could make a fortune lulling people to sleep each night like she eases us into our final relaxation pose (Shavasana) after each class.

{ah, anyway}

Back the husband.

He’s flexible. He’s an athlete. He’d never tried yoga. He thought it was just an easy way to waste an hour practicing breathing (don’t we do that anyway?) and stretching like a 5-year-old might before t-ball practice.  If 100-year-old skeletal Indian guys do it, so how hard could it be?

Heh, heh, heh….

After ten minutes his breath sounded irregular and craggy. I warned him no panting was allowed. After 15 minutes, he worked up a slick of sweat. I tossed him a bath towel. After 30 minutes, he struggled to stay on his feet and his balance and positioning resembled my elderly grandmother trying to get up with a broken ankle.

But he wasn’t half bad for a beginner.

Granted, I did strip down from flannel p.j.s to a tank top and turned on the fan. And perhaps it was a bit tricky to keep traction on a 30-year-old camping mat while the cat licked my toes. But I was just fine. And perhaps gloating…just a wee bit.

“So, still think yoga is for sissies?”

“You are putting it nicely,” he panted. “Yoga ain’t for pussies.” He sopped up his sweat with a bath towel before he collapsed.

But he finished. And enjoyed himself. And he’s going to be hurting tomorrow like he ran the NYC Marathon (uphill both ways, barefoot, in the snow).  Maybe we’ll do it again together next Sunday.


*** Note: I wrote this post a few weeks ago. Since then, Hubby has been a trouper, and he now tries to do the yoga DVD a few times a week. He no longer looks like my Grandmother. And once in a while, Kiddo will even attempt a little bit of yoga zen.

Zaggora HotPants Two Week Challenge

First, I will admit, I didn’t  know what Hotpants were before I received my shiny yellow envelope in the mail. I thought they were some fancy brand of yoga/exercise pants, like Lululemon, something I would love to try but would never cough up enough cash to buy.

Second, I should state that I do not believe in weight loss, cellulite loss, or dieting gimmicks. I believe you lose weight by reducing the number of calories you eat and drink and by exercising. Period. I would love it if cellulite creams and pastes and wraps actually worked, but science has pretty much summed up the problem by revealing that you can shrink the nasty cells, but they ain’t ever completely going away.

And third, well, I’m not really trying to lose much weight. Now, I am constantly fighting the battle to firm up all the squishy parts, get rid of the saggy pregnancy lower belly bag, and fight off the cellulite that plagues every woman once she reaches a certain age. I eat well. I work out. I yearn to be fit and strong. Actually, when I work out a lot (yoga, pilates, weight training) I usually gain a few pounds, which can be frustrating and usually makes me want to kick the scale.

So, with this in mind, I was quite surprised when I opened my package and pulled out my Hotpants. They felt like a diver’s wetsuit — thick, foamy, and tight. In fact, they are made of neoprene, polyester, and nylon — good for surfing?  My Hubby joked I should call them my “sweat your ass off” pants.

Zaggora’s Two Week Challenge:

  • Lose two jean sizes in two weeks – no crazy workout, not nutty regime.
  • Zaggora claims their Hotpants are “specially engineered using Celu-Lite technology” to utilize your body’s heat to get results.
  • Hotpants increase your perspiration by up to 80%, so you can get a 60 minute workout in just 30 minutes or wear them at home or while you sleep.

Day 1:  Ran a 5k on the elliptical then another 5k on the bike. I was soaked from head to toe. I had to take a shower immediately. When I peeled off the Hotpants they were wet inside (the sweat doesn’t go through the pants) and my panties could be wrung out.The Hotpants have to be hand washed, so I tossed them in the shower with me.

Day 2:  6 mile bike ride on path.

Day 3:  1hr yoga class.  Hotpants didn’t dry out overnight, felt rather funky putting on damp.

Day 4:  1hr Power Pilates.

Day 5:  Wore at home.

Day 6:  1hr Yoga.

Day 7:  Wore at home. Pants feel looser — stretching out or am I shrinking?

Day 8:  8 mile trail bike ride.

Day 9:  11 mile trail bike ride.

Day 10:  1 hr Body Pump toning class + 1 1/2 hrs Yoga.

Day 11:  Thanksgiving. No, I did not pig out. Yes, I am sore.

Day 12:  Wore at home.

Day 13:  1 hr Yoga.

Day 14:  10 mile trail bike ride.

After the Two Week Challenge I did not drop two jean sizes. Or even one. I did not lose a single pound even though I felt like I was working out a ton (and still eating healthy as well). My measurements and weight remained exactly the same. Frustrating.

{Excuse me while I go examine my thighs and bum.}

Everything looks the same. My thighs do feel a bit firmer — the muscles have been getting quite a workout. Wednesday’s double hitter of squats, lunges, and yoga nearly killed me, so I had better be getting some results. The skin looks exactly the same though. My hips and tummy (where I really would have liked a little more firmness) show no changes in skin texture or tone. I suppose the only thing which will shape this troublesome area is plastic surgery to sew all the muscles back to the skin (thanks Kiddo).

The Hotpants certainly made me sweat more as was claimed, but perhaps I don’t have much water weight to lose? After I acclimated myself to the tight waistband, the pants were rather comfortable. I liked how they kept my muscles warm while cycling and doing yoga. They will probably be nice once it gets cold out and may shave a sliver of warm up time off my routine.  I won’t be wearing them every day, but I’ll certainly keep trying them as I work out. A girl can always dream, right?

*This product was provided to me for free for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. The opinions expressed are my own.  I cannot guarantee a positive review for any product or services, but I can promise a review written with honesty and integrity. Other peoples opinion and experience with this product may differ from my own.

Shaking my Booty to the Beat @ Flirty Girl Fittness Class

I’m still wiping the sweat off my face glistening after my first Flirty Girl Fitness class.  My gym has yet to install the stripper poles or set up the chairs to straddle, but my hips and pelvis are feeling the burn and my leg muscles are still screaming singing after my slightly stilted yet still sexy workout.

After watching Terri Hatcher demonstrate her steamy pole dance exercise routine on an episode of Oprah, Canadian sisters Kerry and Krista Knee created Flirty Girl Fitness.  They opened posh, ladies only gyms in Toronto and Chicago which feature a tantalizing lineup of classes including Chair Fit/Striptease, House Music Honeys, Pole Tease, Coyote Ugly, Burlesque, and Bikini Boot Camp.  Their Flirty Girl Fitness Program is also available in a  DVD set, complete with six routines, a keepsake box, and a pink feather boa.

Of course, I had never heard of it.

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the “Booty Beat” class.   One of my favorite instructors recently received her Flirtification  (a.k.a. certification and official independent contractor license) to teach her own Booty Beat classes.  I showed up for my regularly scheduled intensive Body Pump toning class to see the Booty Beat flyer taped beside the door:

Booty Beat is the ultimate sexy, fun cardio dance party! We take our moves
straight from the hottest videos and coolest dance floors and incorporate them
into a fat burning, super-fun, easy-to-follow routine to provide the perfect
combination of cardio and strength training. You will feel like you are a part of
a music video rather than in a cardio crazy, core chiseling, booty toning, arm
sculpting workout class. –

I was already dressed in my gym clothes.  I couldn’t just stand in the doorway looking like a prude or a chicken.  I sighed, mustered up my courage, and walked into the class.

First your must understand something: I am one of the least coordinated women on the planet.  I can’t  make it through five minutes of aerobics on a DVD in the privacy of my own living room without thoroughly humiliating myself.  During my last aerobics attempt my cat fled from the room while laughing at me (shh, I know she was) in her smug feline way.  My feet and arms simply cannot handle two opposite movements simultaneously.

I am not rhythmically challenged; I love to dance, but only to music I can immerse myself within.  None of that MTV choreography crap.  I could never be a Brittany or a Madonna.  I’m suppose I could say I’m a more sensual dancer, moving my hips along with the beat as my body follows along–more belly dancer than pop diva.

Luckily, the first class was nearly empty.  Only three of us were brave enough to strut our stuff in a studio lined with mirrors.  And I was miraculously the youngest.  I said a quick thanks to whatever higher power for keeping the 17-year-old model/dancer gym regular our of class (she is sweet as can be but come on,  my self-esteem evaporates in her presence). We started on a wide learning curve.   Our instructor’s CD didn’t work.  None of us had any experience with the dance moves.  And well, we had to kick our inhibitions out the door.

The first move was the hardest for me: The Brittany.  Just the name made me cringe.  My hands had to perform four different movements while my feet danced at a slightly faster pace. And it was not timed properly with the background music.  Not my most graceful moment.  Other moves were much more my style:  the sexy “Angel” (hands up then shaking your glitter down your body), the slowly gyrating “Corkscrew,”  even the butt slapping “Oh No You Didn’t.”

Each song/routine consists of about four separate “flirtified” dance moves strung together and repeated at an aerobics pace.  Since my instructor is more into toning than aerobics, she prompted us to pick up weights while dancing and modified some moves into more traditional squats and lunges.  Oh yeah, I felt the burn.  And not just because I was hot...

During that first class we laughed at ourselves, learned a few new moves our significant others probably wouldn’t mind us demonstrating, and worked up quite a sweat.  It was fun.  I didn’t feel as if I was ready to don my tightest tank top and a cowgirl hat and jump up on a bar for a sexy dance a la Coyote Ugly, but I walked out slightly more confident, more aware of my sexuality, and with my head held high. 

If the class gains enough followers my gym may invest in some poles for our entertainment.  Management will have to add a curtain in front of the peek-a-boo window; we don’t need any of the  bodybuilders outside dropping any weights on their feet while gawking.  And I might need a glass of wine (or two) before my first sashay on the pole.  Adios inhibitions…

This first video shows a routine similar to what I attempted in class.  Except we couldn’t do it as fast.  Or coordinated.  And my instructor is NOT a perky playmate barking out instructions.

And if we ever get those poles…